Dear Parents, Carers and Friends of Salesian,
We have enjoyed another great term at Salesian School and are all very much looking forward to a well-earned break. Students and staff alike have been working exceedingly hard to achieve great things and it continues to be an absolute pleasure to be a part of this happy school community. We are particularly grateful to all those who have gone above and beyond expectations to ensure that the children get a full and well-rounded education beyond the curriculum. This is especially true of all those who will be giving up part of the holiday to take the children to amongst other places Austria, Spain and Iceland; how fortunate we are to be offered these great opportunities.
We are delighted to report that the Marist Catholic Primary School in West Byfleet is the latest school to choose to join the Trust. Having heard the benefits of belonging to the Trust from existing member academies, Governors of the Marist went to consultation and received an overwhelmingly positive response. This will bring our numbers up to 10 academies in September. As the work of the Trust continues to develop, we are all gaining a far better understanding of the many benefits to Catholic education that come from working together more collaboratively and are confident that the decision to form the first such Trust in the Diocese was a very good move.
As a school that genuinely values the views of the students, we often ask them for feedback about what is good at Salesian and what needs improving. The most frequently cited strength is the quality of the teaching and the kindness of the teachers and the thing that we always hear could be better is the choice of food on offer in the canteen (although it is always acknowledged that we have the loveliest staff working in that canteen).
We take Student Voice seriously and as a result have recently reviewed our catering provision. Having gone through a lengthy tendering process we have chosen a new provider, Chartwells (part of the Compass group based in Chertsey) who will start operating from September. A group of students played a full part in the selection process and the successful providers were chosen on the basis of: the quality of food, value for money, profit share to the school, the proposed investment in facilities and the fact that we would be able to continue working with our own staff. Needless to say, we have conducted a thorough financial scrutiny and are confident that these changes will not lead to greater costs for families.
Parents will have recently received a reminder of the expectations regarding school uniform. As you will know, we believe that adherence to a strict uniform policy plays an important part in securing the right environment for education to flourish. We know that parents work hard to reinforce these expectations and we are most grateful to you for that.
As is to be expected, students are always looking to find ways to ‘bend’ the rules and in turn, the school is always looking for ways to tighten things up. Recent areas of focus on this front have been ‘skinny’ trousers for boys and various tricks with the elasticated version of the skirt to make it much shorter than appropriate for the girls.
In response we are asking that boys trousers are black (not grey or navy) and straight cut. We have introduced a new skirt for girls to replace the two existing versions, which we believe, will be less likely to be worn inappropriately and we are asking that from September girls in Years 7, 8 and 9 (those currently in Years 6, 7 and 8) wear this new skirt. Those girls who have already purchased the version with the yellow piping will be allowed to keep wearing them but girls in these year groups who only have the plain elasticated version will need to buy a new skirt. Girls in Years 10 and 11 (those currently in Years 9 and 10) will be allowed to continue wearing either version whilst we phase them out over the next two years.
The school fully appreciates how expensive it is to buy school uniform and we will continue to challenge our suppliers rigorously to ensure value for money. As always, any family that is struggling to afford any aspect of educating their child should contact the school so we can see if they qualify for additional financial support.
We were pleased to finally get planning permission for our new teaching block last week and look forward to work commencing early next term. The work is due to be completed for January 2018 and will see the addition of 12 much needed new classrooms and a further two science labs. Our next project will be to build a full size Sports Hall at Guildford Road on the land between the existing gym and all-weather pitch. We would be interested to hear from anyone who may be able to offer support with bidding and procurement, fundraising or accessing capital investment for such a project; the addition of a resource on the scale we have planned would not only be great for the school but the local community too.
Cristina Mourelle, Head of Modern Languages and Sabrina Lalli, 2nd in Maths are both due to go on maternity leave at some point next term; we look forward to news of happy arrivals for them both. Adrienne Rickard, formerly Head of Modern Languages is retiring at the end of May after 18 years’ service to the school. Adrienne will be remembered fondly by students and colleagues alike and we are most grateful to her for all her good work both in the classroom and on the extra-curricular front.
Our weekly themes over the last half term have provided us with a great opportunity to focus on what is important about being part of a Catholic school. We have had opportunities to reflect on the state of our relationships with one another and with God, to work on improving them where they are in need of patching up, to say sorry for the things we have got wrong and to keep working hard at becoming the people God wants us to be. We have been reminding ourselves how blessed we are to be born at this time, in this part of the world and to have the opportunity to be part of this special school community. We have reflected on the unique plans that God has for each and every one of us and reaffirmed our commitment to working to fulfil our potential. We are all very much looking forward to our holiday and hope that the celebration of Easter will form an important part of that holiday for all our families.
Please let me take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy Easter and express my sincere gratification for all you continue to do to support our work here at the school.
With best wishes from everyone here at the school,